Although I’m a compulsive listophile, I’ve developed an irrational distaste for bucket lists, mainly because they are rife on the blogosphere at the moment and I’ve always been a vaguely off-piste sort of person in my enthusiasms.
Therefore, the ensuing list is less bucket than not-yet-ready-to-croak-crock. Think of it as a disorderly, though non-kicked, cubbyhole of literary fancies; an ongoing book bender, if you will, cataloguing an assortment of festivals, functions, retail outlets, libraries and other attractions on my immediate bookdar (in alphabetical order, of course, as certain standards must be maintained).
Before moving on, I should like to apologise to bucket buffs, of whom I know there are many, since this post isn’t intended to be derogatory in any way to your obvious love of creating lifetime achievement lists – we all have our predilections (me more than most) – and I fully admit to scrutinizing your aspirational checklists with unseemly relish.
So, there now follows a wish (but not bucket) list, as I have no intention of kicking anything when (if ever) there is an unbroken line of ticks on this page. In fact, I fully expect it to continue growing as I discover the existence of tempting book spots around the UK and other parts of Europe. This is an accomplishable list of places I would like to visit.
Anne Frank House
Prinsengracht 263-267, Amsterdam 1016 GV
Astley Book Farm
Astley Lane, Bedworth, Warwickshire CV12 0NE
Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BG
Brontë Parsonage Museum
Church Street, Haworth, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD22 8DR
Charles Dickens Museum
48 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LX
Firle, Lewes East Sussex BN8 6LL
Cheltenham Literature Festival
23 Western Rd, Hove BN3 1AF
Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum
Grasmere, Cumbria LA22 9SH
Dr Johnson’s House
17 Gough Square, London EC4A 3DE
Dublin Writers’ Museum ✓
18 Parnell Square, Dublin
Visited: July 2019
Dylan Thomas House
5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea SA2 0RA
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House
84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester M13 9LW
21 Church Street, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 3EG
Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature
The du Maurier Festival Society, Fowey, Cornwall
Gay’s the Word ✓
66 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB
Visited: Several times since 1982
Church Lane, Hawarden, Flintshire CH5 3DF
Hay-on-Wye: Wales’ Book Town ✓
Visited: 1985 & 2018
Hay Festival Wales ✓
187 Piccadilly, LondonW1J 9LE
Heywood Hill Bookshop
10 Curzon Street, London W1J 5HH
International Agatha Christie Festival
Torre Abbey, The King’s Drive, Torquay TQ2 5JE
International Literature Festival Berlin
The Keats-Shelley Memorial House ✓
Piazza di Spagna 26, Rome, Italy
Visited: Summer 2000
London Book Fair
Olympia London, Hammersmith Rd, Kensington, London W14 8UX
The London Review Book Shop
14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL
Mary Jones World
Llanycil, Bala, Gwynedd LL23 7YF
Rodmell, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 3HF
Tampere Hall, Yliopistonkatu 55, 33100 Tampere, Finland
Much Ado Books
8 West Street, Alfriston, East Sussex, BN26 5UX
59 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1N 3NB
Plas Tan Yr Allt Historic Country House
Tremadoc, Porthmadog, Gwynedd, LL49 9RG
Poets’ Corner ✓
South Transept, Westminster Abbey, 20 Dean’s Yard, London SW1P 3PA
Richard Booth’s Books ✓
44 Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire HR3 5AA
Scarthin Books of Cromford
The Promenade, Cromford, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 3QF
Shakespeare and Company Independent Bookstore
37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
Ways With Words Festival of Words and Ideas
Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EL
Wigtown: Scotland’s National Book Town
Dumfries and Galloway
Words by the Water Festival
The Writers’ Museum
Lawnmarket, Lady Stair’s Close, Edinburgh EH1 2PA
A Little List of List Links
- BBC News: The Art of List-Making
- The New Yorker: A List of Reasons Why Our Brains Love Lists
- The Phrontistery: Word lists and language resources
I can tick three off – the Brontë Parsonage Museum, the Dublin Writers’ Museum and Scarthin Books. I’d love to go to some of the others on your list.
You’re doing well, Nicola. What did you think of Scarthin Books?
It’s great, loads and loads of books and a lovely cafe too. I think it was there that I bought an old Penguin copy of A Kind of Loving.
If you want suggestions for others, how about Charleston Farmhouse? I went decades ago, and loved the place. And I’ve been to the Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh (last October) – absolutely marvellous!
Yes, of course, Charleston. I’ll definitely add that one (I’m sure I’ve forgotten lots of others, too). Good to know you enjoyed Edinburgh’s Writers’ Museum. Thanks Karen.
Poet’s Corner (many years ago) and Hay (two or three times now, it’s not far from here) is the sum of my literary pilgrimages from your list; but I’ve walked to Dove Cottage without going inside, and viewed Charles Kingsley’s rectory without going inside (it’s now a private residence). Can you see a pattern?
I’ve also stayed in Holford, next door to Alfoxton House where Coleridge visited in the Quantocks, and visited the Georgian House in Bristol where Coleridge reputedly met Words worth. All great places to visit, I’m sure.
All sound wonderful, Chris. I can see this list is going to grow very quickly!
I’ve never compiled or read a bucket list but yours intrigues me. I do plan things but sometimes life gets in the way, for example Brontë Parsonage Museum. I was touring UK with family and nobody wanted to stop there. Oh woe is me!
That was a shame, Gretchen. I do sympathise, though, as my partner and closest friends aren’t very interested in books, so I too have missed out on some interesting places over the years. Such is life! 😔
What a great and useful list. You could add while you’re at the Bodleian, The Eagle and Child pub where the Inklings met, and Blackwells for the Norrington Room – their non-fic cavern which is amazing.
Thank you, Annabel. Ooh, they sound interesting. Must look them up.
This is such a good idea! I have been to Haworth and Hay (I used to go every summer with my uni book list) and the rest look so tempting!
Thank you. I’m going to Hay Fest in May. Can’t wait!
I wanted to make a bucket list myself at the start of the year with the idea of it being a “bucket full of sh*t I’d like to do” rather than a list of things to do before I croak. As you perfectly put it, a “not-yet-ready-to-croak-crock” list. I’ve been to Shakespeare’s houses and such in Stratford, UK, but that’s as close as I come to anything on your list. The Moomin Museum / world is definitely something I’d love to be able to tick off my list! 🙂
Thanks Caz. Your bucket list sounds like fun. Hope you decide to post it. Yes, I should really include Shakespeare’s houses on the list – thank you for the reminder. I’m a great Moomin fan, so would love to do the whole Tove Jansson thing if I ever make it to Finland! 😊
I understand what you mean about bucket and wish lists. However, one of the nice things for a reader of them is all the ideas they give one. Take your list for example…I am saving it 🙂
Thank you, Laurie. Hope my list proves useful. 😊
Great list. I’ve done a couple on your list but one that I really want to get to is the Dick Bruna Miffy Museum.
That looks like fun, Kate. I’m afraid Miffy didn’t play any part in my childhood and I knew nothing about her until the cartoons started appearing – even then, I didn’t watch them. I feel I’ve probably missed out! 😞
The Dublin Writer’s Museum is great. Though when I went there (when I was 16ish) I really only knew Oscar Wilde so I probably didn’t appreciate it enough. (Guess that means another visit is in order :))
That’s good to know, Aoife. I’m going to be in Dublin later this year but I’m not yet sure if I’ll have time to visit the museum as I’m only there for a few hours. Keeping everything crossed that that I do. Hope you make it back there again soon, too.
The Dickens House Museum has a wonderful garden cafe – it’s surprisingly quiet and a really nice place to have a cup of tea before plunging back into London. (Also: add Heywood Hill bookshop to your list! https://www.heywoodhill.com)
Many thanks, Elle. I’ve heard of Heywood Hill but never been there – I’ll definitely add it to my list!
Yay! If you ever do drop in, ask for me…
Oh goodness, I hadn’t picked up on the fact you work at Heywood Hill. How wonderful! I will definitely ask for you when I visit. 😃
Wow! Most impressive list! But you must confess that you have been at this for quite a long time. also was very impressed that there is an Agatha Christie Festival. Must also admit that when we’ve been across the pond it was to sing in churches, so that what we saw mostly although they did have a few sightseeing excursions AND we did get to see the Charles Dickens museum and his window.
I have saved this post, thinking it should wait until I can study all those amazing places in full before I replied. Why on earth did I think in that way? Must have been the excitement at the whole list and literary places thing combined which caused temporary madness! 🤣 A modicum of sanity seems to have been restored now!
There are so many wonderful places on your list, Paula. Some that are totally new to me and some that I’ve known about and been keen to follow up on over the years only to have them fall through the cracks and be lost. So your list is the perfect place for me to start again: compiling my own list (and hopefully not losing it) and more importantly, actually using the list to make the visits.
I’ve been to Hay-on-Wye though sadly not to the festival but I have been to Fowey Festival, it being a hop and a jump across the river. (Tickets booked for this coming Saturday!) For reasons that I won’t analyse, despite having lived in Sussex and very close to Oxford, I’ve never been to the Bodleian, Charleston or Monks House. Why is it so often that places on the doorstep are left neglected!
Thank you for your lovely comment, Sandra. I’m sure this list will never stop growing, I’ve already updated it a couple of times since first posting. I’m extremely envious to learn you’ll be going to the Fowey Festival. Will you write about it on your blog? Also, are you going to share your list of desired places to visit? As you’ve probably gathered, I have a bit of a thing about lists and take equal delight either in compiling or reading them. Yes, I agree, it would seem that the closer one lives to some sight of significance, the less likely you are to pay it a visit. Perhaps local doesn’t feel sufficiently alluring, though I don’t know why. We’re a bizarre species! 🤪
I shall certainly intend to feature it on the blog, Paula, though I always seem to be playing catch up and things I want to include sometimes don’t ever reach the top of the list. (Yes, I have a list of potential blog posts!) I hadn’t thought about posting a list like yours but it’s a very good idea. I’ll add the list to the list! 😂😂😂
It’s best to have an interesting life and a backlog of features than a boring one with nothing to write about. I definitely like the sound of your lists! 🧐